Categories crunchfx

Parekh hopes to adapt quickly to Flames

CALGARY — Zayne Parekh is hoping an accelerated approach off the ice could help speed his arrival in the NHL with the Calgary Flames.

The 18-year-old defenseman prospect earned his high school diploma at 16, which allowed him to focus entirely on hockey while playing for Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League for the past two seasons.

“I started a year early with the 2005s and from there on I was always a pretty good student, honestly,” Parekh said. “When we got to the sixth grade, my dad came up with the idea of ​​fast-tracking to the eighth grade and skipping the seventh grade, and then that put me right there with the 2004s.

“I went to four years of high school and took a lot of credits to graduate, and I’ve been playing hockey ever since. I haven’t had to do much the last two years. I have the luxury of getting up at 9 or 9:30 in the morning and going to the rink and skating before everyone else.

“For me, it was the best thing for my development. I think it’s going to continue to be great because I’m a hockey player at this point.”

So far, this move has paid off.

Parekh (6-foot-11, 187 pounds) set the OHL record for most goals by a 16-year-old defenseman in his first season in Saginaw in 2022-23, scoring 21 goals in 50 games. He then topped all OHL defensemen in goals (33) and points (96) in 66 games last season to win the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the league’s defenseman of the year. That was the most points by an OHL defenseman since Ryan Ellis had 101 points (24 goals, 77 assists) in 2010-11.